For those of us who are runners or who follow running, this Monday is not your average Monday: it’s Boston Marathon Monday. And while thousands of runners gather to tackle the epic 26.2 miles, I’d like to draw your attention two runners who will be marking their last Boston together.
I remember the first time I heard about Team Hoyt. It was several years ago, and I was watching coverage of the Hawaii Ironman – some people watch football; some watch baseball; we runners watch races. The coverage was interspersed with profiles of the runners, and that’s where I first saw the story of father-and-son team Dick and Rick Hoyt.
Rick was born in 1962 to Dick and his wife, Judy. As a result of oxygen deprivation, Rick was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. Told that Rick had no chance of recovery, his parents were advised to institutionalize him as he would be a ‘vegetable’. But they refused. Instead, they brought him home and determined to give him normal childhood experiences.
One way or another, most people agree that the federal tax code is a mess. Its web of convoluted rules, formulas, and exceptions is a result of politicians and bureaucrats piling endless favors to some constituencies and punishments to others on top of one another, and as such it’s a fertile ground for all sorts of abusive, outrageous provisions to grow safely beyond public notice.
This week, the Washington Examiner’s Ashe Schow highlighted several activities that are surprisingly included among tax-deductible expenses, including the following:
Have an abortion, get a tax deduction! How strange that pro-abortion advocates aren’t using this as a selling point. Hmmm.
Oh, and while they hyperventilate over Hobby Lobby not wanting to provide every type of birth control without a co-pay, it turns out that birth control pills can be deducted if prescribed by a doctor.
Also, you can deduct the purchase of pregnancy test kits and vasectomies.
In a video memorializing the memory of Thomas Vander Woude, his family recalls his heroic sacrifice for his son Joseph. Vander Woude was the father of seven sons. Five years ago, he died on his family farm after rescuing his drowning son, who has Down syndrome, from a septic tank into which he had fallen. Loved ones say that he died as he had lived: next to his son, and for his son. Thomas left behind a loving family, and last month Focus on the Family shared a video featuring his wife and sons remembering their father and his legacy of love.
The law that Wendy Davis unsuccessfully fought so hard to keep from passing stipulated, among other things, that abortionists must have admitting privileges at a local hospital. This, according to abortion advocates, is a major problem, because most hospitals don’t want to associate with abortionists. Given the astounding regularity that abortionists are found to practice under shoddy, unsanitary, unsafe, and negligent conditions, that’s not altogether surprising. Now, two Texas abortionists are suing University General Hospital Dallas, claiming that it violates discrimination laws.
During debate over HB 2, reproductive rights supporters predicted that hospitals would refuse to grant privileges to abortion providers out of fear of retaliation from anti-choice protesters; in subsequent court challenges to the law, the State of Texas argued that because federal and state laws prevent hospitals from discriminating against abortion providers, doctors who provide abortions would have plenty of legal recourse in the unlikely event they were denied privileges.
24-year-old Brooke Foster is a senior at the University of North Texas, where she plays softball. She is also a mom to an adorable four-year-old, Layton. And she does an impressive job with all three.
Brooke began her college career at Houston Baptist University, where she had received a scholarship to play softball. At the time, softball was the driving force behind her decision to go to school. What she would do after school, or why she was in school – besides to play ball – still eluded her. But just a few months into college, she was no longer asking the same questions.
Unexpectedly pregnant in 2009, Brooke moved back home before completing her freshman year in Houston. She recalls the events around the time of her pregnancy as difficult, and at first she had to reassemble her life plan to fit her new circumstances. According to ESPN:
She dropped out and moved back to Wylie, although the turn of events left her estranged from her mother and father.
Those were the darkest days, when she was adrift and terrified. She had no idea what was coming, had never had baby siblings or even cousins. But she reconciled with her parents as the pregnancy progressed, moved in with them and took on a full-time job at a local pharmacy — it became a point of pride for her that she paid for her own doctor’s visits.
In 2009, there was a crisis in New Zealand when a number of nurses refused to assist in second trimester abortions. In the article “More nurses opting out of abortion ops” one person interviewed commented:
[It is] an issue of nurses expressing an unwillingness to continue contributing to this particular service. It’s not an area of practice where many staff choose or are comfortable to work.
An article in the Journal of Clinical Nursing sheds light on why. According to the article:
Second trimester terminations require the woman concerned to go through an induced labour, the result of which is a fetus in a very human form.(1)
Indeed, babies in the second trimester have a “very human form.” In these abortions, the baby is injected with poison to kill him or her and then labor is induced. The woman in effect “gives birth” to a dead baby. In the U.S., third trimester abortions are almost always done this way – by injecting the baby with poison (usually digoxin) and then inducing labor. (This method is also used in the second trimester in the U.S., although many second trimester abortions here are done by D & E, where the baby is dismembered in utero.)
“My body, my choice” is a tired mantra we hear from the pro-abortion community. The argument attending this soundbite is that because the unborn are dependent on their mothers’ bodies for survival, the self-sacrifice of pregnancy and childbirth are not required. Pregnant mothers, they say, should have the right to evict their children under the pretense of “bodily autonomy.”
According to this view, the unborn child is a foreign invader – a parasite – and no woman should be “forced” to have her body serve the needs of another person that she doesn’t want inside of her. Because the other person is dependent on her for survival, it has no say in the matter, and abortion is justified. The argument has more than a few holes, but it’s remained the centerpiece of generation after generation of abortion sophistry.
Two thousand years ago, a famous historical figure made the same statement in the face of self-sacrifice – and for him, it was to the point of death: “This is my body…” But in his case, the statement continued: “…which is given up for you” (Luke 22:19). Jesus did not, when asked to sacrifice himself for others, refuse the stripes that healed and redeemed his children (Isaiah 53:5). Mothers, when they accept the stripes, stretches and scars of motherhood, can claim solidarity with someone who knows the sacrifice of offering his body for the good of another.
It’s not just pro-lifers who have nicknamed Planned Parenthood “Planned Bullyhood.”
The organization has earned its reputation for bullying legislators, organizations, and women into doing exactly what it wants, which tends to be exactly what is good for its bottom line. The following are a few examples of Planned Parenthood’s favorite bullying tactics – and this list barely scratches the surface.
After being cut off from its funding stream, Planned Parenthood forcefully bullied its way back into the coffers of the Susan G. Komen Foundation:
To fully comprehend the scope of this lunacy (that is, of funding Planned Parenthood), consider these two facts: Planned Parenthood does not do mammograms, which help to reduce breast cancer by providing early detection of potential problems, and Planned Parenthood does commit abortions, which increase a woman’s susceptibility to the condition.
Late-term abortionist Harold O. Alexander had his medical license suspended for three months by the Maryland Board of Physicians yesterday. This is his second suspension in two years, bringing into question why this man is still allowed to practice medicine.
According to the consent order, Alexander is guilty of “unprofessional conduct in the practice of medicine.” After his three-month suspension is over, he will be allowed to practice medicine again, although he will remain under probation for “at least” three years. Once the suspension is lifted, he cannot be employed as a sole practitioner for at least a year, and must work under the supervision of a board-approved physician, who will have to file monthly reports.
Alexander was previously charged in 2012, for unprofessional conduct, failure to meet the standard of quality medical care, and inadequate medical recordkeeping. Alexander had been accused of sexual misconduct, as well as self-prescribing medications and prescribing medications for family and friends, and his license was suspended. After the suspension was lifted, he remained under probation.
Last October, his clinic was inspected. It was found to be an unlicensed surgical abortion clinic, yet Alexander admitted to performing abortions there on a regular basis. There was no nurse on site when the abortions were performed, which is a violation of state regulations. Multiple other violations were found as well. He had also applied for his clinic to become a licensed abortion clinic, despite knowing that he could not do so until his suspension was lifted.
Ever wondered what compels abortion clinic workers to quit?
What makes the nurses begin to reconsider their career choice? What turns the doctors from performing abortions and compels them to never be involved again? What convinces other staff to just walk out and not return?
Here are excerpts from the stories of just a few.
March 30, 2014: 40 Days for Life
While people prayed in the rain at the 40 Days for Life vigil in Sacramento, Wynette – the local coordinator – watched a scene unfold outside the abortion center.
“Several abortion business employees huddled together, holding their umbrellas, as they took turns hugging one abortion worker in particular,” she said … wondering what was going on.
A few minutes later, that worker exited the driveway right in front of Wynette and rolled down the car window, ignoring the falling rain.
“I’ve had enough!” the distraught worker called out. “I hate this place! I quit!”
A teenager who has Down syndrome recently got accepted to college, and his reaction to the news has America smiling along with him:
Noah’s video was posted Tuesday and has already accumulated nearly 300,000 views on YouTube. As soon as Noah realizes that the letter is news of his college acceptance, he says “I got accepted! YES! Dad, you rock! I love you! I got accepted, yeah! Yeah!”
UPDATE: Minutes after the debate started last night, it was killed procedurally. Senator Owen Hill reports: “Democrats voted to kill their extreme abortion rights bill on the Senate floor. God bless you all for your hard work–there is such as a thing as a government of the people, by the people, for the people–even when those people are unborn. Keep praying to end abortion!” Reportedly, Republican legislators as well as thousands of citizens actively took a stand against SB-175, and ultimately, they were successful.
At approximately 5:00 tonight, the Colorado Senate will be having a passionate debate over SB-175. This bill – a knockoff of the extreme “Freedom of Choice Act” – would make abortion a fundamental right in the state and strip pro-lifers of certain free speech rights. Parental rights would be in danger as well, as Colorado currently has a parental notification law on the books.
Colorado Family Action – a Christian non-profit that promotes “life at all stages” – described some of the effects of SB-175 in an e-mail:
No Colorado State governmental body at any level would be able to enact a policy that “denies or interferes with an individual’s reproductive health care decision.
This legislation has the potential to eliminate a broad range of laws including: parental notification laws, parental involvement laws, laws promoting maternal health, government programs and facilities that pay for or promote childbirth and other health care without subsidizing abortion, conscience protections laws, laws requiring that abortion only be performed by a licensed physician, laws regulating school health clinics, laws concerning abstinence education, laws affecting pregnancy centers and so on.
I just discovered the wonder of time-lapse videos. I recently saw my first one on YouTube. It’s a popular video by Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester called “Portrait of Lotte.” Hofmeester filmed his daughter Lotte every week from birth to 14 years old. The video shows Lotte going from a smiling toothless baby to a young girl with braces. You can see Lotte talking in the video, but the only sound you hear is sweet background music. Since its release, the video has over 4 million views on YouTube.
TIME Magazine reported that Hofmeester makes time-lapse videos as a way to bond with his children. He has another video of his son Vince growing up from birth to age 11. Hofmeester used the time he shot the videos to talk to his kids about their lives and how their weeks were going.
Tommy Riles – father; audience warm-up comedian on The Ellen DeGeneres Show; and founder of Life of Dad, a social network for fathers – recently shared a beautiful goodbye letter to his son who died at 20 weeks’ gestation. His words are accompanied by a picture of his son’s tiny, perfectly formed hands. Together, they remind us all of the beauty and miracle of life inside the womb and love between parent and child.
He tells his son, whom they named Scotland, that he is proud of him and that it was an honor to hold him that one and only time. Riles recalls the moment his wife called to tell him that they had lost the baby and he tried to comfort her. He tells the story of the 10-hour labor process and how incredible his wife is. But Riles focuses on the moment he got to hold his son for the first and last time. He writes:
I’m proud of you, son. Even though you only made it halfway through the pregnancy, you have left a mark on our family that will last forever. […] I felt both happy and devastated to be holding my second son in the palm of my hands. We cried. I told you about your brother and sister. We visualized you running through open fields somewhere, free, happy, and full of life. We sang to you. After singing the final line of “Silent Night” to you… “Sleep in heavenly peace…” we knew it was time to say goodbye.
Wesley J. Smith spotlights another horrifying report out of Belgium. Fresh off of their euthanasia-for-children success, Belgian doctors have decided that being able to euthanize people who consent to it just isn’t good enough. No, they’ve decided that ICU doctors should be allowed to euthanize patients, even if they haven’t received consent.
This statement paper, developed by members of the Belgian Society of Intensive Care Medicine Council, is not about giving analgesics or sedative agents to combat pain or agitation, nor about the so-called double effect, wherein analgesics given to alleviate pain may have the adverse effect of shortening the dying process. The discussion here is about the administration of sedative agents with the direct intention of shortening the process of terminal palliative care in patients with no prospect of a meaningful recovery
… Moreover, we explain our belief in the concept that shortening the dying process by administering sedatives beyond what is needed for patient comfort can be not only acceptable but in many cases desirable.
… Shortening the dying process with use of medication, such as analgesics/sedatives, may sometimes be appropriate, even in the absence of discomfort, and can actually improve the quality of dying; this approach can also help relatives accompany their loved one through the dying process—such a decision should be made with due consideration for the wishes of family members.
Recently, West Virginia’s rogue “pro-life” governor Tomblin vetoed a pro-life bill that would have outlawed abortion after 20 weeks in the state. The governor’s bogus excuse for vetoing the bill despite being a self-proclaimed pro-lifer was that he could not sign it since a similar ban had been struck down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In fact, West Virginia could not be farther from the Ninth circuit (which encompasses California – one of the most anti-life states in the country), and the excuse was transparent. The WV citizens who oppose the butchery of fully formed, pain-capable children in utero are outraged by the decision and the governor’s flimsy attempt to pin the veto on constitutionality issues that do not exist. According to John Eastman, director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence:
As the numerous states and organizations who have filed briefs with the Supreme Court rightly argue, Arizona’s law is entirely reasonable and constitutional. We hope the Supreme Court accepts this invitation to revisit the extreme constraints Roe v. Wade imposed on the ability of states to respond to new medical knowledge and safeguard women’s health.
Shaun Adkins, a Marine veteran who has been politically outspoken in his community in the past recently posted the following video to YouTube calling for accountability from West Virginia politicians.
While the U.S. honors 50 years of civil rights, Planned Parenthood has committed nearly 100 years of civil wrongs.
This past week our nation celebrated the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Twenty-fourteen marks the fiftieth year since the passing of this influential bill. The bill, which was signed by former president Lyndon B. Johnson, changed the face of America for the better. CNN reports:
The law revolutionized a country where blacks and whites could not eat together in public restaurants under Jim Crow laws, or stay at the same hotel. It outlawed discrimination in public places and facilities and banned discrimination based on race, gender, religion or national origin by employers and government agencies. It also encouraged the desegregation of public schools.
Sadly, 50 years later, African-Americans are still facing a massive injustice. Abortion is the #1 killer in black America. Blacks now have the right to drink from any water fountain we desire, and we can go to any school we work hard to get accepted to. However, those rights pale in comparison to the right to life. Over 13 million black lives have been terminated through abortion. The privileges our ancestors fought for do us little good if we are steadily decreasing as a people group.
On March 25, the U.S. Supreme Court heard cases involving for-profit business owners opposed to the HHS Mandate requiring them to provide objectionable forms of birth control drugs in their health care packages.
The Greens, owners of Hobby Lobby, and the Hahns, owners of Conestoga Woods, represent two cases brought forward against the HHS Mandate that do not object to all forms of contraception. They are religiously opposed to providing drugs that may cause an early abortion.
Before her tragic death in 2012, former abortion clinic nurse Joan Appleton traveled the country speaking out against abortion. She gave her testimony at different events, and her speeches were recorded and distributed. Her journey from abortion worker to pro-life activist has some similarities to that of well-known clinic worker-turned-pro-lifer Abby Johnson.
Appleton was a member of the National Organization for women, a pro-abortion feminist group, and when she took the job at the Commonwealth Abortion Clinic, she was happy to be working there. As she explained:
I thought that I had a wonderful opportunity as a nurse and as a firm believer in choice to be able to actually practice my political beliefs.
I looked at it as a gift, so I went about working hard at the (Abortion) Clinic for four years and remained active within NOW.
Note: There are no graphic images of abortion in the videos included below.
In today’s modern age, it’s difficult to avoid the fact that unborn human beings are alive, growing, unique individuals – from the very first moment they come into existence. Yet some still manage to close their eyes to reality. It’s important to understand the things we claim to support. It’s essential to be aware of all the facts, not just the ones that seem to support our position.
And so, for anyone involved in the abortion debate – and for all those who are unsure exactly where they stand – here are five important videos. These short videos show just what that unborn baby in his mother’s womb looks like, at various stages of development. Modern scientific videos like these demonstrate that unborn babies are not:
- A clump of cells
- Part of his or her mother’s body
- Similar to a virus or
- Merely “potential” life